Amazing day in Bergen with Espen Ingebrigtsen who translated "Der totale Rausch" into "Hitlers Rus", published by Spartacus. He made me very happy by saying this book has brought him the most fun so far in his career as translator. We then went to the old "Tyskebryggen" in Bergen, the historic pier, which after the Second World War was renamed into simply "Bryggen", since "Tyske" means German, of course.
I was actually quite interested in Espen's stories about Nazi occupation here from April 1940 until May 1945 - a dark chapter that is not often talked about in Germany. From there we were quickly discussing Knut Hamsun's role, his ugly pro-Hitler writings (as an anti-modern position; he should have read Blitzed, and might have gotten quite a different idea about the "Führer") as opposed to his amazing "mysticism of the nerves" of the earlier books, like for instance in "Hunger".
And did you know that the German Kaiser Wilhelm spent all of his summer vacations in Norway? Travelling here with his yacht, the "Hohenzollern", coming all the way up to Balestrand, where he stayed in the formidable Kviknes Hotel. Just in 1914, his holiday turned a bit sour, when the First World War broke out, just as he was enjoying a glass of Mariani wine.
The fantasy of a pure and glorious Norwegian past that somehow is connected with white superiority runs from the Kaiser through Hamsun all the way to Breivik. In any case, we changed the subject, and talked about W.G. Sebald, the German writer of complexity that cannot be praised enough. And Espen did a bit of Knausgard-bashing, which he, being a Norwegian scholar, is absolutely entitled to.
At night I picked up Frank Künster from the airport, we rented a fine German car and immediately drove up to ... Balestrand.